Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The Victims Support Fund (VSF) wednesday launched a peace-building project in the North-east region to promote reconciliation, peace, security and social cohesion among communities affected by Boko Haram insurgency in the region.
Launching the project in Maiduguri, Borno State, the Executive Director of VSF, Prof. Sunday Ochoche, said the implementation of the project by traditional, religious and community leaders was to promote reconciliations and forgiveness among 1.8 million victims of insurgency.
He said: “Today’s peace building project was designed to enhance peace, reconciliation and social cohesion in the society, particularly the ones affected by the eight-year-old Boko Haram insurgency that has claimed many lives and property in the state.”
Ochoche also said: “While the campaigns of traditional and religious leaders; also sought to streamline the full implementation of various humanitarian interventions for rapid resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in affected communities in the war ravaged region of Northeast.
“This project was to reconcile and forgive among members of the communities that were seriously hurt, destroyed and traumatised during the eight-year insurgency period.”
He said even though the implementation of the project; has already commenced in Maiduguri Metropolitan Council (MMC) and Askira/Uba Local Government Area of the state, as a pilot peace building project, it is to be extended to insurgency affected states of Adamawa, Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi and Taraba.
Ochoche said everything the fund is doing is geared towards restoring an enduring peace in Borno and other states in the Northeast.
He explained that the peace building project was to make people return to their liberated communities and live in peace and harmony.
Ochoche said: “We want to ensure reconciliation between different entities that have been hurt, destroyed and affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.”
The fund boss said the peace building process is a strategic means of putting together the different interventions to fast track reconciliation, rehabilitation and cohesion among the various communities affected by insurgency.
According to him, “We want people to return to their normal ways of living and smile again, live in confidence and sleep with their two eyes closed.”
The strategies of implementation, according to him, include pulling and tapping from available local and international resources in the state that could mitigate conflicts and peace through construction of networks of peace and conflict resolutions to achieve sustainable peace and development of communities affected by insurgency.”
He said after implementing the peace building project, it could also mitigate conflicts to enhance peace not only in the region, but the entire country.